Interview With Travel Blogger Photographer Samantha Murphy @scmphoto

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Travel Bloggers are skilled in many areas and when it comes to expression today’s interviewee prefers to let her pictures do the talking. Please meet Sam Murphy.

Samantha Murphy

Samantha Murphy


What is your name?

My name is Samantha Murphy, but most people call me Sam.


Which country do you come from/call home?

USA, in the wonderful city of Chicago.

Are you a backpacker/long term traveller/business traveller/live and work abroad?

A little bit of everything. I haven’t lived abroad yet, but it’s on my bucket list.


How do you fund your travel (savings/work whilst travelling/other)?

I think travel is the best learning experience possible, so I’ll do whatever it takes to fund it. Any money I can put into savings is reserved for travel. I couldn’t imagine wanting to spend it on anything else! At holidays I’ll ask for air miles or cash, if ever possible. I build up credit card points that can be used for air miles. So far it’s working pretty well! It’s the most rewarding thing to splurge on.


What is the first trip you remember taking and how old were you?

I traveled a lot as a child back and forth between my parents and visiting other family. But my first real international trip was when I was 14, to Costa Rica. It was an intense backpacking adventure. I had a little point-and-shoot camera with me, and I’ve kept those photos around after all these years. I still love them.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica


Have you been anywhere which turned out to be totally different to how you imagined? If so, how?

Chile. I love Spanish culture, language and people, but Chile took me off guard. At least in the city, it was much more intimidating than I imagined. People stared and constantly warned me about getting robbed. It’s the first time I’ve traveled somewhere that I felt like I was always being watched. The countryside is gorgeous though — I’d definitely go back for round 2.


Have you had any bad experiences whilst travelling?

So far I’ve been pretty lucky in this category. Costa Rica was really physically demanding, and sometimes I didn’t think I’d make it, after 12 hours of hiking up a mountain. But pushing through was incredibly worth it. I also lost my wallet in Chile, but thankfully I was able to remedy that quickly. At least I didn’t lose my passport!


Do you have any funny travel stories?

Tons! But off the top of my head, I remember being in India and sending some of my clothing off to be washed (it’s so incredibly cheap!) But when I got my clothes back, everything was dyed blue. Luckily I didn’t send off anything valuable, so I just laughed it off and enjoyed my new blue shirts.


Which is the worst place you’ve been to and why?

I don’t honestly know if I could name something! I really dislike the Miami airport, but other than that…


Where is your favourite place in the world?

This is tough. I really do love Chicago. I’ve been to a lot of places, but I truly believe my home city is one of the best in the world. Especially in the summer — it’s magical. But abroad, it’d be a tie between India and New Zealand. Completely different places, but both have such incredible, generous people and breath taking landscapes.




Do you have a bucket list? If so what is on it?

Absolutely. It’s pretty much an endless list of travel adventures. I plan on visiting every continent and country, so this list will be going strong for a while…


Can you imagine life without travel?

Not at all. I think travel is the best learning experience you can ever get, and without that, I feel like you’d miss so much. You can only learn so much about the world through classrooms and textbooks.


If you were not travelling what would you be doing instead?

I have no idea! I’d probably be miserable. But I think I’d immerse myself in local projects and explore my city and surroundings.


What is the name of your travel/photo blog and the url?

I call it Real Picture Blog and the url is


When did you begin your photo blog?

I feel like I’ve had so many different photo blogs over the years, but I started Real Picture Blog in 2011. I’ve had an iphone diary since 2010 (


Why do you share photos (for money/connecting with people/therapeutic/fun)?

I love connecting with people and sharing experiences. Not everyone is fortunate enough to be able to travel and see what I’ve seen, so it feels nice to share what’s out there.


What makes your site so unique and why should people visit it?

I think it’s unique because it’s really just about the photos. I actually enjoy writing quite a bit, but for me, I’m completely a visual person. I love to see photos and experience them without other distractions.


What is the difference between your Real Picture Blog and scmphoto?

Real Picture Blog is my main outlet for posting photos from my travels. scmphoto is what I use for just about everything else…twitter, instagram, iphone blog.


Do you have a favourite type of picture? (portrait/abstract/architecture/landscape etc)

I’ve always been drawn to landscapes. I think of them as portraits of a place, and I think you can make a real connection to them.




You recently visited Anfield and saw Liverpool FC play a match. Are you a fan of Liverpool?

I am! I can’t say I’ve always been — I was sucked into it a while back, since my girlfriend and her family are diehard fans (from Liverpool.) But it was a fantastic match! I’m lucky I was able to go. The energy the fans have is unbelievable.

Anfield the home of Liverpool FC

Anfield the home of Liverpool FC

Isn’t Stevie G a great player? (sorry ed 😉 )

Haha! Oh definitely.


How many cameras do you take with you when you travel? What types of cameras are they?

It depends on the trip. For several years I would always have my pride and joy, Nikon D700with me. Now I’m toting a D800, which is amazing. Otherwise sometimes I’ll carry a waterproof camera, or a variety of film cameras. I still love to bring disposable cameras with me on trips. They are small, durable, and the photos always come out great.


Are you self-taught or did you take photography classes?

A bit of both. I was taking photos and self-teaching long before I went to school for it. After several years though I went to university and got my Bachelor’s in Photography.


Do you have any products or services to offer?

Sure! I’m full-time freelance right now, so I’m available for shooting, website design, and I always have photo prints for purchase.


What has been your most successful blog picture to date?

On Real Picture Blog, my most successful photo was of train tracks in New Buffalo, Michigan. Not sure why it did so well, but I’m glad people enjoyed it!


What has been your favourite picture?

I think still to this day, my favorite picture is of an Indian girl putting on a golden earring. I took it back in 2008 on a two-month documentary trip, and it stuck with me ever since. It was also very well received by my peers, and was used as the cover photo for a book we published. I’m still very humbled by that.

Girl with earring (Samantha Murphy, © 2013)

Girl with earring (Samantha Murphy, © 2013)


What is your favourite mode of transport? (plane/train/boat/car)

I think air travel is amazing. It still blows my mind that we are able to get on an airplane and travel in the sky at 40,000 feet across the world. I think a lot of people take that for granted. I love trains, too.


Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring travellers?

Just get out there! Even if it’s exploring a new part of your own city, taking a road trip across several States, or saving up for a trip abroad, you just have to get up and go. We all come from different places, backgrounds, and financial means, but I honestly believe traveling changed my life, and continues to change it. It would be a shame for other people not to experience that.


What has travel taught you?

Just about everything. It has taught me about people, places, politics, religion, emotion and everything in between. But I’ve also learned a lot about myself — my fears, strengths, limits, passions. It’s an all-inclusive learning experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything.


Quick fire questions:-

Favourite airline? Virgin American & Air New Zealand

Favourite country? India & New Zealand

Favourite city? Chicago!

Favourite beach? Black sand beach in Maui

Favourite food? Thai

Favourite language? Spanish


Please provide the following:-

Website url?

Twitter handle? scmphoto

Facebook page?




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  1. Nice interview. I agree with her about just getting out there are traveling, even if it is around your city or somewhere close by. Travel is life.


  1. […] Are you a backpacker/long term traveller/business traveller/live and work abroad? A little bit of everything. I haven't lived abroad yet, but it's on my bucket list. How do you fund your travel (savings/work whilst travelling/other)?  […]

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